With a 25 year career in construction across Croatia, New Zealand and Qatar under her belt, Billie Teshich is no stranger to working in the world’s most male-dominated industry. In fact, she loves it.
That’s why in 2019, Billie established and now leads the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in Qatar – part of a global organisation that champions the advancement of women across the industry. Because Billie’s on a mission to reach the next generation of women and show them the world of opportunities construction has to offer.
That same world of opportunities has taken Billie all around the world. From her home in Europe to a life in New Zealand and finally, to her dream projects right here in Qatar.
A qualified civil engineer, Billie spent her early career in one of Croatia’s leading construction firms (Dom). Working her way up from the factory floor, she was typically the only woman on-site and had to navigate the rigours of operating in an almost exclusively male domain for many years.
But those years also afforded Billie the chance to work directly on all kinds of developments – commercial, industrial, retail, public spaces. She also excelled at construction cost engineering and went on to become a skilled quantity surveyor and project manager.
Billie used these skills to win a very important contract for Dom at the conclusion of the Croatian war of independence (1991-1995). The United Nations had proposed a programme of work to reconstruct the country’s kindergartens, schools, gymnasiums and community buildings. Through this work with the UN, Billie got the chance to help rebuild her hometown.
A few years later, Billie would get to put this rebuilding experience to work in New Zealand – the country she’d moved to in order to raise her family. After major earthquakes struck the city of Christchurch in 2011, parts of the city centre had to be rebuilt and Billie was invited by one of the country’s largest construction firms to contribute her expertise to this.
During her time in New Zealand, Billie also earned her Masters in Construction Project Management and provided consultancy services to a range of high profile businesses, real estate agents and developers, regional banks and global insurance companies. She then added to her portfolio of work in the public sector – initially as senior project manager for international giant AECOM and later working with New Zealand’s Ministry of Education (to upgrade a NZD$1bn portfolio of educational facilities) and Ministry of Business and Innovation (to regenerate rural housing).
Then came an opportunity to relocate to Doha in 2016 as a Senior Project Manager with world-leading global professional services consultancy, Turner & Townsend. And it was an opportunity very close to her heart.
Many years ago, Billie had dreamed of working in the Middle East. She wanted to make her mark on some of the world’s most outrageous, extravagant, beautiful and luxurious mega developments. And since arriving in Qatar, that’s exactly what she’s done.
Ascending from Project Lead to Associate Director to Project Delivery Director in a few short years, Billie’s been a driving force behind some of Qatar’s most iconic projects.
One example is the Galeries Lafayette Doha – a flagship store for the Galeries Lafayette Group in the Middle East. This stunning 15,000m2 Parisian-inspired high-end luxury retail department store has become one of the most popular shopping experiences in Qatar. Along with the build itself, Billie’s team was also responsible for coordinating tenancies and fit-out for this exclusive development, which is now home to 400 global fashion and cosmetic brands.
Another was a multi-billion QAR development spread over 1,150,000m2 of land in Lusail. This included 5-star luxury accommodations such as the Palais Vendome, Le Royal Meridien Marriott Hotel and Residences – as well as Qatar’s largest mall, the Place Vendome. With opulent French architecture, dancing outdoor water fountains and a water canal running through the mall – the Place Vendome delivers an unforgettable shopping experience. It’s also home to 600 stores spread over four levels – everything from high-end luxury to high-street fashion, with scores of entertainment, food and beverage brands as well.
Billie was then recruited to work directly with Al Asmakh Real Estate – the world-class development company behind many of Qatar’s most iconic builds. In her role as Projects Director, Billie led the landmark Qatar Entertainment City (QEC) infrastructure development and a number of high-rise residential and commercial projects.
As you can see – the scale and complexity of Qatar’s mega developments leverage the best of Billie’s civil engineering background, quantity surveying expertise, project leadership skills and 25 years of experience successfully delivering construction projects around the world.
This is why Billie’s new construction consulting firm, Omnivision, is already in demand.
As Managing Director of Omnivision, Billie’s able to provide professional project services to some of the biggest players in Qatar’s real estate, infrastructure and natural resources sectors. This is the challenging work she loves – and as she confirmed in her recent keynote speech at Qatar’s Women in Construction Conference, “there’s no place I’d rather be”.
But it’s through her role as President of NAWIC Qatar that Billie wants to help like-minded women blaze their own trail and become Qatar’s next generation of women in construction Leveraging the experience of Billie and other female leaders, NAWIC Qatar works to educate employers and advocate for greater diversity, equality and inclusivity. NAWIC also provides the support, training, mentoring and development women need to succeed in all areas and at all levels of the industry. Because it is possible to thrive in a man’s world – and there is a world of opportunity waiting out there for women willing to take on the challenge.